|Children's Minister, Margaret Hodge, opens new nursery and visits SureStart in Roehampton|
with Putney MP Tony Colman
Tony Colman MP welcomed the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for Children to Roehampton on 11 January. She opened a new Buffer Bear nursery and then visited the successful and expanding Surestart, both based at the South Thames College London Borough Wandsworth site on Roehampton Lane.
Buffer Bear Nurseries, a not-for-profit childcare provider has built a new nursery in Roehampton at the South Thames College site, working in partnership with Central Government. The Nursery has places for 50 children aged 3 months to 5 years and 40 of these will be subsidised by central government to provide high quality nursery provision for children from underprivileged and low income families. This will be a major boost for nursery provision in the area.
Margaret Hodge and Tony Colman toured the new nursery. The impressive facilities are arranged on one floor with three large rooms to allow children to be cared for by age and ability. There are indoor play and early learning areas as well as access to a secluded and secure garden. The facility also includes a large kitchen where freshly prepared meals can be prepared for the children.
Commenting on the new nursery, Tony Colman said:
'I am very pleased to see this additional childcare facility in Roehampton. Buffer Bear Nurseries supported by Central Government's SureStart programme are helping to provide much need extra provision in the area. My youngest son attended the Buffer Bear nursery in Wimbledon Park some years ago now (he is now eleven) from 3 months to when he started school and he enjoyed accompanying the Minister and myself to the new nursery and to meet again the staff who had looked after him who have now transferred to the Roehampton Centre. I have the highest praise for Buffer Bear as an organisation and childcare provider.'
The Minister's visit continued with a visit to the expanding SureStart Roehampton. Using Central Government money SureStart is converting an extra part of the South Thames College site.
Margaret Hodge and Tony Colman met with the Parent and Child Forum, the regular meeting of parents and staff at the SureStart Centre and discussed local concerns and ideas for development of the project. Some of the young mums raised the issue of funding for childcare should they wish to return to college and Margaret Hodge spoke about 'Care to Learn', the Government initiative which aims to give financial support to teenage parents (including dads) who want to continue their education or training, or are returning to education or training and need help with the cost of their childcare. It is available to parents aged under 19 or those who started a course before they were aged 19.
Commenting on the Minister's visit, Tony Colman added,
'I am very pleased to see extra Central Government money pouring into Roehampton in addition to the work being done by Wandsworth Council in the area. I would like to extend my thanks to both Sarah Forrester, Administrator of SureStart Roehampton and Clare Budd, Manager of Buffer Bear Nurseries Roehampton Centre and their teams for all their hard work. I wish both organisations continued success in helping families ensure that the children of Roehampton have the very best possible start in life.'
January 13, 2005